Getting off-the-grid with the family

Alvin Uy

Richard Gutierrez preps up his Jeep Gladiator for some serious overlanding

Actor and outdoor adventure enthusiast Richard Gutierrez recently set up his Jeep Gladiator for some serious overlanding and off-road adventures. He made sure his rig is fitted with all the accoutrements needed for him and his family for any outdoor off-the-grid situation.

The term “overlanding” originated from Australia which means herding livestock over vast distances. This activity often relies on self-sufficiency and the vehicles are equipped with camp gear, recovery equipment in case one is trapped in a sand bog or deep mud and part of the fun is the journey and destination, like a campsite.

There’s a difference between vehicles used for off-road activities and overland adventure, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. The basic distinction is that off-roading vehicles are often highly modified and not used for daily driving, and basically are for sporting or recreational purpose only. They may be used for overlanding purposes albeit for a short time but the priority is to test the off-roading capabilities on trails meant for extreme and very challenging terrain. For overlanding, it will involve going through some rough terrain it is just part of the journey with a destination in mind.

Gutierrez went to Mototesto PH to customize his Gladiator and Wheel Gallery for his tires and wheels set up. He calls his rig Gutz and Glory and here’s a brief description of his set up.

First, he uses an RSI SmartCap modular truck cap system using forged automotive stainless steel so it would withstand punishing off-road conditions and it can take as much as 350kg static load or 150kg live load (while moving). The truck bed cover system has a boxy and angular design and has a pair of solid steel gullwing window panels on each side, complete with peripheral LED lighting which can be used while the vehicle is in the campsite. Inside, Mototesto fitted the bed with a DECKED brand truck bed storage system and organizer complete with slide out drawers made of high density polyethylene to keep it watertight. The drawers come with heavy duty 2,000lbs top payload capacity and a drawer slides mechanism that make them slide out in a very silky smooth manner, commonly seen only on expensive modular kitchen systems found in luxury homes. It even has a drawer slide strong enough to hold its freezer and easily slide out, up and down for easy access.


On top of the roofline, it is fitted with an Alu Cab “floating” 270-degree retractable awning and an Alu Cab Gen 3.1 low profile rooftop pop-up tent using Front Runner custom roof racks as mounts. This beautiful dual roof system spreads out like a delicate Japanese origami paper artwork but needless to say, it has a very high UV resistance against the harsh sunlight and remain rigid against strong winds.

In front, a specially fitted light bar above the windshield and ARB Solice driving lights on top of the Mopar heavy duty front bumpers ensure that visibility is good even during nighttime off-road driving. The bumper is fitted with a Warn winch in case the vehicle would be stuck. A Renogy Dual battery BMS with 150-amp lithium battery was also fitted to allow off-grid camping for days. On the side, a power-retractable step up board allows the vehicle to go off-roading with a higher side clearance simply with the flick of a switch.

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Underneath, to compensate on the weight + its load Mototesto uses onboard air suspension from Airbag Man fitted with the Falcon shock absorber for its suspension.

For its wheel and tire set up, Gutierrez chose a set of 17-inch MR309 Method Race Wheels with 37-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires supplied by Wheel Gallery. Method Race Wheels’ patented Bead Grip technology allows the tires to safely reduce air pressure to increase traction and ride quality for off-roading conditions. The integrated Bead Grip grooves found on both its inner and outer bead seat engages the tire bead for a stronger holder under extreme side load and lower air pressures. Its safety hump also gets a more aggressive profile which offers better stability for the tire bead in the seat.

The set-up of Gutierrez runs into seven figures, with all the customization involved and special fittings. But setting up your 4×4 SUV or pickup can start from a more modest budget. There’s a lot of things you can do but you have to start with the basics first. We’ve listed a summary of what you can do for your own rig.